Zac Efron has sparked a heated debate after posting a photo of himself wearing locs. As Yahoo! reported, the 30-year-old Instagrammed a black-and-white selfie on July 5 that debuted the hairstyle. He captioned the image, “just for fun,” though it was quickly clear that many of his followers didn’t quite see it that way.
As one Instagram user aptly put it, “Cultural appropriation ain’t fun.” Added another, “K. Fun time over. Take em out.” Some other commenters expanded on exactly why a white man like Efron wearing locs is appropriative: “They aren’t just an accessory you can wear because it’s trendy, they MEAN something spiritual,” one person wrote.
Other users (perhaps worryingly) came to Efron’s defense, claiming that locs are “just a hairstyle.” It’s a defense that has been cited in similar instances of cultural appropriation, ranging from Kim Kardashian’s decision to wear Fulani braids to blogger Nikita Dragun wearing locs.
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But what many people still don’t understand is that locs aren’t just a hairstyle; they have a rich history and significance, but unfortunately are often still stereotyped by those who don’t care to learn better. As writer Georgia Chambers explained in an op-ed for Teen Vogue, “[cultural appropriation] can be hugely damaging to people of color in terms of trivializing or commercializing their customs and traditions.” Considering black people have been — and continue to be — discriminated against because of their choices to wear natural and protective styles, it’s pretty clear why people think Efron’s new look is blatantly appropriative.
More on locs:
- SCOTUS Won’t Be Hearing the Case of a Woman Denied a Job Because of Her Locs
- The Important Reason Why Rihanna Wears Locs in Ocean’s 8
- Daphne Lee Opens Up About Being a Black Ballerina With Natural Hair
Now watch these young girls talk about hair and self-esteem:
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